Mark Davis to speak at Nevada legislature about moving Raiders to Vegas OMG OMG OMG

Stop the presses! Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis is going to speak to the Nevada state legislature about moving his team to Las Vegas!

The Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee meets April 28 at UNLV to review tourism-related projects for possible state funding. A 65,000-seat stadium in the Strip resort corridor is among the projects under consideration for recommendation to the Nevada Legislature. Davis will be at the meeting to address the stadium plan and the Raiders’ potential move, a source confirmed Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

Presses all stopped? Good. And now start them back up again, because that’s all we have — for all we know Davis is just going to say that Las Vegas would work well with his brand like he did two months ago. He’s certainly doing a good job of creating leverage, plus headlines for the newspaper owned by the billionaire seeking $780 million in public money to help him build an NFL-ready stadium in Las Vegas. Synergy!

So would Davis ever really move the Raiders to Vegas? It’s not as crazy as it would be in other sports: Local TV market size doesn’t matter much in the NFL, so moving from the Bay Area to the nation’s 42nd-largest TV market isn’t such a huge deal. On the other hand, the Rams‘ move to Los Angeles is a sign that market size does matter even in the NFL in terms of things like PSL sales and naming rights. But Vegas is a kind of a special case, with lots of people who don’t live there spending lots of money. Except that hardly any of them are likely to be Raiders fans, so they’re not likely to put up big money for season tickets or anything. But Mark Davis is Mark Davis, and he doesn’t have a lot of other great options…

I’m still putting my money on “leverage ploy,” because that’s usually what these things are, but there are enough moving parts here that we can’t totally blow this off as a bluff. Set your watches for April 28, and we’ll see what happens.


34 comments on “Mark Davis to speak at Nevada legislature about moving Raiders to Vegas OMG OMG OMG

  1. They may not be season ticket buyers, but there’s a good chance they’re luxury suite buyers (for individual games.)

    Anything that could potentially resemble the gambling scene from the movie “Focus” is exhilarating. American capitalism was designed for that kind of live action.

  2. NFL games are generally played on Sunday afternoon, many people that visit Vegas leave on Sunday, I dont see that many people paying for tickets and staying around to watch an NFL game of a team that they don’t root (Raiders) or even if their team is the visitor.

  3. I tsuspect most people who extol the majesty of watching NFL games, and of course their amazing effect on municipal quality of life, haven’t been to an NFL game in a while.

  4. Mark S: Those people throwing away $100,000+ on bottle service may have never heard of the “Superstar DJ” performing at that night club. Likewise, I would guess they wouldn’t root for either team…. just like a Super Bowl: the people wealthy enough to attend the Super Bowl may not be a diehard fan or either team- they just like to be apart of the festivities.

    I imagine a regular season NFL game in Vegas would be more festive than a Super Bowl in Indianapolis, given all there is to do on the Strip, the sportsbooks are already electric on NFL Sundays, and the pipe-dream of a stadium would be right next to the airport……. Not that flying home from Vegas “under the weather” (still inebriated) on a Sunday is a uncommon or anything.

  5. It’s leverage, but probably nothing else.

    Why wouldn’t Davis fly to Vegas to talk about the possibility that someone might be able to bribe him to move his team there?

    What is the downside for him? That someone else might see that and not offer to bribe him to move/stay somewhere else? Unlikely.

    Next stop on the Raiders relocation train? San Antonio. Then Minot or Bismarck. Or maybe Portland (the east coast one).

  6. Davis can pretty much move the team anywhere in CA or Vegas and be fine because a lot of the fans will travel a bit. That’s why he doesn’t want STL or even San Antonio.

    I believe he genuinely cares about his fanbase, at least a little bit.

  7. Las Vegas is an eight-hour drive from Oakland. That’s more than “a bit.”

  8. “Leverage” only exists in the minds of those who think that the City of Oakland will suddenly reverse a years-long position on not giving the Raiders hundreds of millions of dollars they think is better spent on the city itself, and full site control (which they can’t get without the money, because of the A’s lease terms).

  9. I’m with CCCTL. I’m not sure who they are getting leverage with. Maybe leverage with the NFL or with San Antonio or someone else.

    In fact the Raiders are moving even farther down the agenda. The big issue with raucous debates has been gentrification and displacement.

  10. Alex: The people who are seeing “DJ Superstar” are generally well off kids in their 20s who are looking for a party destination. The people who buy luxury suites or Super Bowl tickets are a fair bit older and have jobs and businesses to run Monday morning. If you’re a businessman in New York, San Francisco, or Chicago why would you fly to LA to watch the Raiders when you could do the exact same thing in your home town and get to tuck in your kids at the end of the day?

  11. Scola: The people whom prioritize tucking their kids in at every night aren’t in Vegas dropping $100k on bottle service, and it’s not pigeon-holed to well-off 20 year olds either….. Mid-life crisis are a real thing & Vegas is a great place to test whether they can “keep up” or “still hang” with younger folk. Plenty of 30-40 year olds are without kids & 50+ year olds with kids out the house. We’re only talking about 8 home games here, so age discrepancy aside, do you really think Vegas would struggle filling a stadium for the NFL?

  12. How many times do I have to say it: the Raiders are not moving here. Period. This is a leverage play. There isn’t enough corporate support here to the Raiders to be viable in today’s NFL. I seriously doubt the stadium even gets built. The LVCVA wants to spend billions of Joe Taxpayers’ dollars to expand and renovate the convention center, which is in direct conflict with the stadium because Adelson wants those same dollars. Mind you, the land is now owned by UNLV, in which bonds were issued (taxpayer money). So Adelson is going to build a stadium on land he doesn’t own, using taxpayer dollars to build it on land the county does not own, in order to rent out to a professional franchise in which said franchise will not control the revenues (which goes completely against what the NFL owners stand for). This is a complete and utter waste of time for the informed; yet, politicians in Nevada are utterly inept in terms of business it will rubber stamp anything unless threatened.

  13. I was once a LOS ANGELES Raiders season-ticket holder. But, I have not been to a single game since the Raiders moved back to Oakland. I instead have chosen to follow them on the “Sunday Ticket” offered by DirecTV. I still live in the greater L.A. area, but I and many others that I have spoken to, would prefer to buy season tickets for the LAS VEGAS Raiders versus the L.A. Raiders.

  14. Alex: The “dropping $100K on bottle service” is hyperbole. Would 60k people fly to Vegas to go to a Raiders game? Heck no. It’s a silly business model.

    Vegas thrives on creating the illusion that there is something there you can’t get back home. The Raiders are just like what you can get in New York, San Francisco or Chicago…only crappier.

  15. Neil – first of all thanks for your blog and that it is free.

    Vegas is a union town and unions love these types of projects (huge stadiums), lots of jobs, lots of steelworker and etc. Does the fact that unions are for stadiums increase the likelihood of a stadium being built.

  16. Mark Davis wants a stadium in a sea of parking so his fans can tailgate. How are you going to tailgate in Las Vegas weather?

    In August/September it is so hot outside no one will be able to tailgate at all. Come October/November/December the weather gets so erratic with wind, rain, sandstorms that fans will stay away.

    This plus if the NFL ever allows Davis or anyone to move to Las Vegas, all casinos would be forced to not take bets on all NFL games. Hahahahha! This would be a cold day in hell, the casinos make more money on NFL wagering than all the other sports.

    Davis is just posturing, I feel bad for him. Dumbass Lew Wolff refuses to budge from the Coliseum thus holding up Davis’ deal with Oakland.

  17. Scola: No, it’s not. There were people that actually spent $500k for bottle service on New Years Eve… $100k is more of an every weekend ordeal, otherwise those “Superstar DJ’s” pressing the play button in Vegas wouldn’t be making $30 million a year.

    And I never said 60k people would fly to Vegas for a game, becuse that’s ludicrous… pretty sure there’s already a couple million people living there, and again it’s only 8 games. Eight.

    It’s only a silly business model if you’re the one not profiting from it. Somewhere there’s a multi-millionaire that created the pool-noodle or snuggie & would get a belly laugh over concerns about silliness.

    Do you just hate Vegas? because walking out of a stadium that’s right on the strip Would* offer things no other NFL city currently presents………..

  18. With all due respect, the DJs who play Vegas all the time don’t make $30M.

    Also, Las Vegas isn’t just small for an NFL market, it is one of the poorest cities in the US and is overflowing with entertainment options.

    As for the fact it’s only 8 games, yes. However, those 8 games would each need to draw more people than all but 5 conventions in Las Vegas.

    And, yes, I do kind of hate Vegas. The whole city is a sad statement on our society. It’s completely unsustainable, economically and environmentally. If you walk 100 feet off the strip it’s sadder and more desolate than Detroit by far. It’s unfortunately one of the few places in the US where someone with little education can get a job and buy a middle class house, so many desperate people have moved there to deal cards, serve drinks, clean toilets or remove their clothes for a living. What makes Las Vegas work is the total shallowness and materialism of our corrupt society on full display coupled with illusion. No one ever talks about how they lost at the tables in Vegas. Likewise the $30M DJ and the $100k bar tab–it just keeps people feeling like they need to spend more to keep up with the Joneses. And that money leaves Vegas just as quick as it came in.

    Las Vegas is the saddest city in America.

    As for the matter at hand, yes, sometimes some Goldman bro drops a hundred Gs at the securitization convention or after getting a gross bonus, but it’s not that common. Plus, that guy’s money has already been hoovered up by the Giants and Jets to build their privately funded stadium.

  19. Alex is probably correct that Raiders games played in Las Vegas would be sold as events, sort of as mini-Super Bowls. Many casual fans around the country also like the Raiders in addition to their local team — or at least they like the “idea” of the Raiders, and the holdover glory that the team has from the Madden days and from the Marcus Allen / Lyle Alzado days. I’d bet that this kind of person, even more than locals, would be the target audience for tickets.

    But Mark S.’s makes a good point about Sunday not being conducive to luring tourists to an NFL game, as that is generally the day that they leave Las Vegas. I hadn’t thought of this point; but it does make sense. If the unlikely happened, and the Raiders did move there, I wonder if part of the plan would be to try to get a waiver from the rule that prohibits NFL games on Fridays during the high school season. Or perhaps the team would play as many games on Thursday as possible, hoping that that day would fit better into tourists’ travel schedules.

    And I really appreciate Scola’s vivid description of Las Vegas. Thank you very much for that.

  20. That’s fine, some people can’t handle Vegas.

    And objectively, Detriot is the saddest city. They literally went bankrupt & you can still buy a 2 story house for $100, but then you’d actually have to live in Detriot…..

    As for the unsustainable rant, the whole world is unsustainable. No reason to chastise Vegas for things everyone’s guilty of….. Ever been to the beautiful city of New York? The NYSE is essentially an empty showroom, how’s that for an illusion– the whole economy lol. Environmentally, everyone that lives in the unsustainable hellscape that is Vegas-Phoenix-San Diego-LA, basically 1 out of 10 Americans are sad, sad individuals contributing to such unsustainability. I am clutching my pearls too.

    Now, I’m going to go back to Florida where a man broke into an apartment, ate a used bag out of someone’s vacuum, and then climbed on the roof of the apartment to deficate. That’s a true Florida Man news story, but please go on about how Vegas is worst & the rest of the country is so morally superior. Thank the heavens that shallowness & materialism doesn’t exist in our beloved LA or New York. No desperate people in New York cleaning toilets to survive, that scum’s only found in Vegas, right?

  21. Life can survive in Detroit, New York, LA or Florida.

    The entire city of Las Vegas would drop dead if it wasn’t for a massive taxpayer subsidy. The City of Las Vegas was built to then swindle the people who labored on that investment out of their money.

    On second thought, maybe Las Vegas is the perfect place for the NFL after all.

  22. Ferdinand Cesarano: I don’t know how you substantiate “Many casual fans around the country also like the Raiders in addition to their local team.”

    Most data I’ve seen shows that the team with the most non-local support is the Dallas Cowboys. Of course, they also are the most hated team. Either way people care which is why they are the default Sunday night game.

    Even people in Alameda County don’t care about the Raiders.

  23. Scola – My source for that claim about casual fans liking the Raiders is my own butt. I admit that I was speaking entirely speculatively and based only on anecdote.

    You are correct to state that the Cowboys are the biggest NFL team in terms of nationwide support. But I don’t think it is entirely wrong to suggest that the Raiders also enjoy a considerable degree of what we might call latent support around the country. By this I mean that there are people in all cities who, while certainly not describable as “Raider fans”, are nevertheless favourably disposed to the Raiders based on the team’s early history of greatness and its longstanding aesthetic. I think that the Raiders’ “brand” (I hate even using that term; but that’s how people talk nowadays) is very healthy and is generally positively received, even by fans of other teams — with a few obvious exceptions, such as fans of the 49ers and the Chargers.

    So, my assumption is that, when these people come to Las Vegas on vacation, they could conceivably be lured to a Raiders game regardless of the opponent. All highly speculative, of course. But I hope that you’ll agree that the Raiders’ name and aura is greater than that of almost all other NFL teams, behind only the Cowboys and the Packers and probably no others.

  24. It would actually be pretty amusing if Davis just changed the name to the “Raiders,” no city designation, and tried to build a nationwide (or even global) fan base. The NFL, with its business model of a few high-priced fannies in the seats and most everyone else watching on TV, is certainly the league to try it in, though I doubt Davis is the owner to try it.

  25. Complaining about Lew Wolff vis-a-vis the Coliseum and development situation is an extremely ignorant argument not based in fact.

  26. “So would Davis ever really move the Raiders to Vegas? It’s not as crazy as it would be in other sports: Local TV market size doesn’t matter much in the NFL, so moving from the Bay Area to the nation’s 42nd-largest TV market isn’t such a huge deal.”

    In the context of the Raiders finances I agree 100%. But suspect CBS would not be happy with this move. There’s little leverage to be had in Oakland, but the NFL will always have “options”. A second city will always be in play when stadium talk happens. The NFL isn’t about to change their playbook now. IMO, the NFL is willing to entertain Vegas because they are dead set on keeping the Raiders out of Los Angeles. Vegas just happens to be the best non southern California option – in Davis’ opinion anyway.

    • Vegas works perfectly for the NFL. Think about it: If the Raiders actually go, either LA ( Team 2) or San Diego open up for another team ( Jacksonville Jaguars?).

  27. David Brown: If the Chargers decline their option on LA the Raiders get to move there. If the Chargers do move to LA it’s because San Diego voters turned down a publicly-financed stadium which makes it no longer such a threat to leverage a publicly-financed stadium out of some other hapless city.

  28. Come to think of it, talking up Vegas could end up creating leverage for Davis with Kroenke when it comes time to negotiate an L.A. lease, if it comes to that.

    That said, I doubt Davis is thinking much farther ahead than “Somebody might want to build a stadium for me, I better go talk to them!”

  29. It’s not impossible, Neil. Having a full time “barnstorming” team is not something that the league will want… but now that they’ve used up their best stalking horse ever (LA), they may need something to create leverage with these recalcitrant cities that don’t immediately surrender to them (ok, I can’t think of one either, but work with me…)

    The fear of the unknown, as every 1950’s scifi fan is aware, is always greater than the fear of the cheesy looking rubber monster mask that they don’t show you.

    I don’t think the NFL will allow it (or that Davis would be willing to put himself at the mercy of gate revenue sharing with his ownership brethren if he was operating a road warrior team), but being a road only team for a defined period (IE: until a good enough bribe is out there) isn’t impossible and might be deemed a better option than accepting a “take it or leave it” stadium offer somewhere else.

    Let’s not forget that car dealers manage to make nearly all of us believe that the “one on the lot” is so unique that we’d better not let it slip away… despite the obvious fact that there are only a few option tiers these days, vehicles only come in a relatively small number of colours (which change each year), and that even if you can’t find another one just like it… you can order one from the factory exactly as you want it.

    Leverage doesn’t actually have to exist to be deployed…

  30. Neil: I’m not sure that’s much leverage either. That implies Kroenke desperately wants someone to lease his stadium when his original plan was to own the LA market by himself. The leverage is that Kroenke has to share his stadium or the NFL may make things less than pleasant for him. That’s Spanos/Davis’ leverage.

    If Davis said “I don’t want your stinking stadium, I’m playing in Vegas” I’m sure Kroenke would pay for his airfare to get there and throw in some PF Changs to boot.

  31. The two realities are: 1. Mark Davis doesn’t have the money to build a new Raiders stadium on his own. 2. He doesn’t want to take relinquish majority ownership to a deep pocketed business partner who has the funding capabilities to build a new stadium.

    Solutions: a) Find a willing municipality that will throw billions of taxpayer dollars into a new stadium. b) Wait out what happens in San Diego and then possibly join the Rams at their new stadium in Inglewood. c) Sell the Raiders d) Shut up and accept the Coliseum for what it is.